Nothing could have prepared us for COVID-19. Brands that survived recession and slowdowns in the past do not have a playbook for the current situation. As you’re reading this, the global economy is dipping and the pandemic is predicted to cost the global economy $2.7 trillion.
Naturally, the impact of an economic slowdown and global lockdown impacts all aspects of any business. Within the marketing function itself, most channels such as digital, emails, social media, and even content marketing have seen a downward spiral in user interest and engagement rates. A recent study by Neil Patel shows that the organic traffic to most industries have experienced a steep decline during March 2020.
During these uncertain times, we tend to look around within the community to find out how Content Marketing responds. What does Content Marketing look like over the next few weeks and months? Is it time to reexamine the content strategy, or is it okay to maintain the status quo? I guess we’re all trying to figure this out.
There are a few ways in which Content Marketing can step up their game during the global health crisis. Here are four ways in which Content Marketing can help teams lead the way:
- Reassess the messaging, voice, and tone for your brand
As the market dynamics change, so does the user intent. What made for good marketing a couple of weeks ago, may not resonate with your audience right now.
It’s important to make sure that your brand does not come across as tone deaf to the crisis scenario. Ask yourself these questions to help you create content that is more relevant:
- Would this creative or message be appropriate at this moment?
- What topics would your audience be interested to consume?
- Do your creatives reflect the current world scenario where large crowds and groups are not able to come together?
Answering these questions will help you pause, re-prioritize and pivot your content strategy. This also helps you re-evaluate your messaging and creative, and identify ways to suit them to the current mood of your users.
Create content that can educate, inspire, or even entertain your audience. For example, one of the things that MoEngage has developed is a COVID-19 update for businesses blog. MoEngage scouts for data about the impact of COVID-19 on online businesses worldwide and user behavior trends, and they plug them into a live updates blog. MoEngage also includes stories about other brands who have led by example and have been creative with their outreach to customers.
- Revisit the buyer persona
While your buyer persona might not change completely, there are going to be some significant shifts when it comes to the topics they’re searching for and the purchase intent. It is helpful if you can leverage data and identify these shifts.
For example, one expected change is that it’s likely both businesses and consumers are going to be more cautious before making a purchase decision. Look for ways to put your buyers at ease with your content and messaging. If you showcased your product USPs before, it’s time to bring the ROI from your product or the free trial that you offer to the forefront.
Another area you want to focus on are the channels used to connect with your audience. Earlier, you could reach your users across a host of digital touchpoints. However, as more and more countries go into lockdown, the user behavior changes. For instance, SEO might have been the biggest contributor for organic traffic in the past. However, in this crisis situation, you might find your audience is more engaged using social media. Revisit some of that data, and see how the trends are shifting over there. Take your message to meet your users where they are in the current situation.
- Learn to be more flexible, adaptable and agile
The pandemic brings in a lot of uncertainty. There is little visibility into how the global situation might unfold in the coming weeks. That’s where, staying agile helps provide a cadence to move forward while allowing for quick shifts.
While the need is to pivot from your well-planned content marketing strategy, it is important to look forward and be prepared for business situations to change. Learn to make that transition proactively.
Break your content plan for the next three to four months into three parts – content during the crisis, content for the transitional phase, and “business-as-usual” content. Focus efforts on building each of these parts at a time. Executing the overall strategy in parts provides the opportunity for quick course corrections when things change.
- Contribute to every opportunity
If there has ever been a moment for Content Marketing to take the lead with its partners, it’s now. Build a robust communication plan for COVID-19. This should cover your customers, partners, and employees. Let each stakeholder know about the impact of the crisis on your business, the steps you have taken to ensure the safety of your teams, and most importantly, how you will ensure continuity of business without compromising on data and security.
Also create employee generated content to showcase how the teams are working together in the new normal, including things they should do during their free time. Use this opportunity to strengthen your team and the culture.
Also, ask yourself, how you can help your customers, prospects, and partners. Explore ways in which the content team can be helpful across your business. Does the sales team have what they need to keep their customers informed?
Take the lead during the crisis.
At times like these, it is very important that all the teams come together and work as one unit. Content Marketing can rise to the forefront and partner with their teams to help them get the messaging and tone right.
While these are not the only ways in which Content Marketing teams can play a vital role in your organization, we hope these are helpful ways to bring some clarity during these moments of stress. How has the role of Content Marketing changed within your organization? Share your experience in the comments section below.